Take a 15 minute walk every day.Think of this as a prescription. No excuses.
Practice mindfulness: Get an app on your smart phone. I like “Calm” which provides serene music and a couple of guided meditations. Practice yoga. Learn a one minute meditation. Pray.There is a large body of research showing these practices improve mental health.
Get it out! When overwhelming feelings or thoughts steal your focus, find a way to get them out. Some of my clients find journaling every day to be very helpful. Don’t reread what you write, just think of it as expelling the thoughts so you don’t have to hold onto them. Talk to someone supportive. Seek professional assistance.
Sweat. Do something aerobic, the more mindful the better. In other words, do something that takes your mind into your body and away from ruminating on thoughts. Try a new sport. Take a class.
Get good sleep. Turn off screens a half hour to an hour before bedtime. Keep the room quiet and dark. If you are experiencing sleep disturbances, talk to your doctor and therapist about ways to manage it.
Take a break from social media. Notice how much time you are spending on Facebook, etc. It can become a rabbit hole for isolation and depression.
Explore your creativity. Listen to a new genre of music. Play an instrument. Draw or color. Don’t worry if you are not good at it. The process is more important than the product.
Appreciate the natural world. Go outside. Sit and watch the sunset. Watch the birds. Visit a community garden.
Reduce negative coping skills. Moderate alcohol (one to two drinks at a time) or marijuana use. Eating, drinking alcohol and marijuana or other drug use can numb feelings and thoughts but just delay the inevitable feelings for a later time. They usually come out in ways we would prefer they didn’t.
Be around people. Go to a place where you can be around people, being mindful of how much interaction you want. Join a friend for supportive friend for conversation or go somewhere you can stay anonymous like a coffee shop or a park.
I hope you find some of these tips to be helpful. These activities are all things that my clients have tried that helped improve mental health as part of our treatment plan and have been supported by research based on many people’s experiences. Please consult with a mental health professional if you find that you are not able to manage mental health problems on your own or if you think about hurting or killing yourself or someone else. I’m always happy to provide a free phone consultation about therapy with me or where to get services. Colorado Crisis and Support Line is available 24 hours a day at 844-493-8255; www.coloradocrisisservices.org for a map of walk in urgent care centers.